The National Security Bureau must pay NT$100,500 to a political advocate who was forcibly removed from the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade for displaying a banner that read “Taiwan,” the Taipei District Court said on Friday.
The incident at the Universiade’s closing ceremony on Aug. 30 that year involved From Ethnos to Nation member Chen Yu-chang (陳俞璋) and six soldiers of the Military Police Command, court documents showed.
Chen told the court that he was trying to display a banner that read “Taiwan” when plainclothes officers emerged and forcibly took the banner from him.
He demanded that the officers explain their actions, but they wrestled him to the ground and arrested him, he said, adding that the incident took place during the live performance of God Bless Taiwan (眾神護台灣) by rock band The Chairman (董事長樂團).
Chen filed a lawsuit seeking NT$750,000 in compensation from seven government agencies, saying that the military police had used excessive force and infringed on his right to free speech and private property.
Other agencies listed in the lawsuit included the National Security Council, the Ministry of National Defense, the National Police Administration and the Taipei City Government.
While the National Security Council and the bureau did not dispute the events of the incident, they argued that the military police acted properly, the court documents showed.
Other organizations named in Chen’s lawsuit argued that they should not be held responsible for the decisions of the bureau, which was in direct control of the military police during the Universiade.
The court accepted Chen’s argument that flying a “Taiwan” banner was not a political or ideological act in the context of an international athletics event, presiding Judge Chen Hsien-te (陳賢德) wrote in the verdict.
Athletes from more than 100 nations took part in the Universiade, including those from China, and it is “puzzling” that the bureau would consider the banner offensive, he wrote.
As the bureau was in command of the military police, the other agencies do not share responsibility or liability in connection with the case, he added.
The court ordered the bureau to pay Chen Yu-chang NT$500 for medical expenses and NT$100,000 as compensation for his pain and suffering.
The verdict can still be appealed.
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